"The way you feel the music is plain wonderful"
How did he react?
He stopped me with the wave of his hand. "Ah, come on..." Then he said, "I like how you sing, too!"
How did I feel?
Music is not about reaching perfection. Music is about feeling alive.
Gur knows all about that: Tonight he played me a tune. Actually, several. When he started I was exhausted after a long day. I lay down on the floor and closed my eyes. A few minutes in I started feeling a tickling all over my chest, and a wave from top to bottom. The pling plong of the guitar gently massaged my face until finally that tension in my jaw softened...
Rising up again a few minutes later my bones had transferred from heavy to light. A smile on my face I looked at his fingers climbing their way up and down the strings. They looked like a thousand legger dancing ballet.
I said, "I want to pay you back. I'll play something on the violin for you."
"The violin!", Gur answered, "That is awesome! An actual instrument! Not just the guitar...". We laughed. I unpacked my instrument and Bach entered the stage. That last sentence--Bach enters the stage-- translates in "Good things are happening.". Always. And they were: Gur, the fun guy I study with, turned into Gur, the man who feels Bach. I was delighted. After I finished playing, Gur said, "Now you have made me want to play some Bach real bad." I smiled. This is probably the best compliment one can get for playing his music. We listened to some tunes, though listen is an understatement here: We got immersed.
Then finally we played together. Jazz. I sang, Gur accompanied me. He site read and transposed the chart. I knew the song by heart. While he played Gur kept apologizing and beating himself up in words ("Ah, shit, which one is that in f...No not this one...Sorry, sorry..") but I didn't even hear what he said: I was feeling his rhythm. Sure, he did not hit all those hip tones but did I notice? Not at all. There was a homunculus inside of me who swayed from side to side so hard my whole upper body started moving along. I was blown away: Gur had got the the groove! I hadn't felt that strong of a dancer in me in a long time. Gur switched him on. Unaware of what was happening to me he fought with the chart- as most of us who play music have. We've all struggled mastering fingerings, interpretations or forms. It is part of practicing music. While it is easy to get frustrated with that it is the hardest thing to stay connected to the groove in the meantime. Gur did.
You don't play music? You have no idea what struggle I am talking about? There is something else you know for sure. Picture this: You are at your favorite band's concert. They're playing your number one tune. That up tempo song, the one you turn up on Monday mornings. That puts you out of bed and a smile on your face. Got something? Good. It takes one chord and you know: This is my song! You give in, fall into the sounds, instead of you dancing to them they dance you.
This is music right? It is that one moment in which nothing matters anymore. In which everything is inside of you and you are everywhere. You don't care whether or not the lead singer is slightly out of tune, or if the drummer is too loud. You are busy being full of bliss. Maybe music is about perfection after all: The perfection that you find when you give in to the moment. The perfection in feeling alive. There is no perfect or alive: I think they are the same. Alive is perfect.
Thank you for getting me there, Gur. You are a wonderful, no, a perfect guitar player for that. Whatever tones you hit or miss-... Just don't stop playing!
Yes! Apart from being the guitar guru Gur studies with Karen, the guys and me. He brightens up every class with his dry humor. And I found out about yet another talent of his yesterday: After he had left I found a bird sitting on my table! I called him Nepomuk.